Heads Series, Episode 8: Turbo Mash

Next video in the Heads series: |How to Run your Moonshine Distiller Reflux Still|

Products used in this video:
-Moonshine Distiller 48-Hour Turbo Yeast

Video Transcription

Howdy folks, and welcome back for another Heads episode. In this episode we are going to be discussing the turbo yeast mash. While there is a lot of bad rep around turbo yeast, we definitely recommend starting this way for new distillers. It’s so easy, and it’s super cheap, so you can really get the process under your belt with a couple batches without really breaking the bank, and to be honest I still use turbo yeast mashes, especially when I am doing something like using one of my essences.

Turbo yeast mashes are really pretty simple. You just mix sugar with water, add the yeast, let it ferment, and you should be good to go with the distilling process. There’s a couple optional extras that we can add in that we will discuss later on in this video. But, to begin with, we’ve just got three gallons of warm water and 18 pounds of sugar. We add the sugar to the water and stir it all in. Again, we used warm water just to help the sugar dissolve and we will be adding the other two gallons of water later on.

So, now that we’ve got the sugar mostly dissolved, we are going to add back in our cool water to help cool back down the mash. Generally, you want to add until there is about 5 or 6 gallons of total liquid. With all the sugar dissolved and the cool water added, it is just about lukewarm temperature which should be fine to add your yeast. Cut open the yeast packet, and pour the entire thing in. give it a quick stir to mix the yeast in, put the lid on, and you should be ready for fermentation.

With our 48-hour turbo yeast, it will generally take about 48 hours to reach 14% alcohol by volume, and 5 days total to reach about 20% alcohol by volume. Generally, you want to ferment it at a little bit warmer temperatures than you would a typical, beer yeast or wine yeast, at 70-85 degrees Fahrenheit. Optimal temperature would be about 77 degrees Fahrenheit. At temperatures higher than 77 degrees Fahrenheit, the yeast are going to produce more byproducts, giving your final distillate a slightly funkier flavor.

So, as you can see, turbo yeast mashes are very easy and simple to do. They are also very cheap since a 25 pound bag of sugar at Costco costs about $10, and the bag of yeast costs about $4. As a beginning distiller, this is a very cost effective way for you to get your feet under you and learn about distilling without breaking the bank.

Hopefully you found this informative and good luck to you. And as always, thanks for tuning in!.

8 thoughts on “Heads Series, Episode 8: Turbo Mash

  1. howdy,
    my cousin and I recently bought a 20 gallon copper pot still with a thumper. We have ran it twice now, using only cracked corn and 6 row malted barley. our ratio is about 18 pounds of cracked corn and 2 and a half pounds of the malted barley to 20 gallons of water, then we use brewers yeast. Maybe I didn’t cook or steep the grain long enough to get all the starches out or I am not using enough grain per gallon of water, I really don’t know what I’m doing wrong, but we don’t start seeing anything come out of the worm till the still gets up around 210 degrees Fahrenheit. Even then after we dump the heads we end up with a spirit that’s only around 20 to 40 proof, it just tastes really watered down. We put wash from the mash we are running in the thumper also. Any help, advice, or tips would be greatly helpful. Please don’t be afraid to think of me as a total idiot, because I’m pretty sure I am when it comes to this and I really want to get it right. I have made homemade wine from scratch for about 14 years and once or twice I have froze it and siphoned off the alcohol, that’s as close as I have ever come to distilling anything.

    1. Andrew, there are a lot of variables in there that you didn’t really get into. What temp are you cooking/steeping the grains at? How much water are you using? How long is each step?

      1. I am steeping them at 150 to 160 for about an hour and a half. I end up with 20 gallons of water in my mash. Actually to be honest the first mash we got in a hurry and just pored warm water over the grain and I am pretty sure the only alcohol we got out of that batch was from the barley. the second go around we steeped it for about an hour and a half, all the grain, corn and barley. Another problem with the first mash we never took a first reading with the hydrometer, but both times we let ferment for 5 to 7 days. Then when we start the wash in the still and put the heat to it, By the time the thumper gets hot and starts it’s thing the wash is up to almost 210, doesn’t ethanol vaporize at 175 or so?

        1. It sounds like you are not gelatinizing your starches properly. I would do some research on this, but you will need to hold them at at least 180 for a couple hours.

          1. All right, thanks for your time and help. So it is ok to add the malt in at that temp also?

          2. No, you want to add the malt at below 150.

  2. Roger that! Thanks!

  3. For Turbo Mash do you ferment with an airlock or just a loose lid on the fermenter? With such a rapid fermentation there could be explosive results with an airlock.

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